Tokyo stocks close 1.94pc lower

January 24, 2014 - 9:17:52 am

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks closed 1.94 percent lower on Friday, dragged down by a rally in the yen against the dollar and worries over emerging economies after weak Chinese data.

The benchmark Nikkei-225 index fell 304.33 points to 15,391.56, while the Topix index of all first-section shares lost 1.78 percent, or 22.92 points, to finish at 1,264.60.

"There is no panic, but some players are definitely taking money off the table in light of the Nikkei's faltering upward momentum, and a good chance for profit-taking in banks and real estate shares," an equity trading director at a foreign brokerage told Dow Jones Newswires.

The yen benefited as a safe-haven currency as US shares sank on Thursday following a weak report on Chinese manufacturing activity and lacklustre US corporate earnings.

The Dow Jones Industrial average slumped 1.07 percent.

Banking giant HSBC said preliminary results showed manufacturing activity in China contracted sharply in January, adding to recent concern about the world's number two economy.

In afternoon Asian forex trade, the dollar bought 103.27 yen, down from 103.34 yen in New York Thursday afternoon and well below the mid-104 yen level in Tokyo.

A strong yen is negative for Japanese exporters as it makes them less competitive abroad and erodes profits when repatriated.

In share trading, Nissan slipped 0.21 percent to 932 yen following a report by the Nikkei business daily that the Japanese automaker and France's Renault are planning to boost their alliance.

The pair would bring together their production as well as research and development in a bid to save about $3.8 billion annually, it said.

Sony shares edged down 0.05 percent to 1,763 yen, Japan's biggest bank Mitsubishi UFJ lost 1.93 percent to 660 yen, while Uniqlo clothing chain operator Fast Retailing fell 1.57 percent to 38,215 yen. (AFP)